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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Friday, August 22, 2008


Friendship and Phone Calls

I kid you not that I write this immediately after the event itself.

Today was the last day at camp for Adam. I was told, no exaggeration, (like my post earlier this week) that Adam was declared the most popular kid at camp. Okay, I bet most of you are thinking, yeah, sure... a non verbal kid (for the most part as Adam can barely speak but can on rare occasions say a phrase or a word) making friends, eh? I bet you are thinking that Adam's assistant fostered that, or that maybe it was just the kids feeling sorry for Adam that they spent time with him.

Apparently not. (Please read previous post to this one)

Adam was on his own in fostering his own friendships. Today, all the counselors came and lined up at the bus -- JUST TO SAY GOODBYE TO ADAM. He had, as I've been told, created so much connection between him and others that he brought out the luv. And please don't say it's because he's autistic. That would just be sugar-coated prejudice.

Today, I have been dog-tired so much so, that I did not pick up the telephone for two calls where I did not recognize the names. After crashing to my dose of supper-time news, I decided to pick up the messages.

Message One: "Hi Adam, it's Dylan from Camp. I really want to talk to you."

Message Two: "Hi Adam." And then I heard some shuffling and muffled sweet child-talk I could not understand, "I really want to play with you... call me back."

We called Message One back first as I asked Adam to dial. We reach Dylan's mom and I introduce myself, stating that Adam is there, listening. Adam is smiling. The other mom is surprised, "Dylan called? Really? I didn't know that. I saw him with the phone and a piece of paper in his hand...isn't that funny... so wait, I'll get him.." Dylan is apparently getting tired in the background. There is shuffling against the phone. It's 7:15 and almost bedtime. I hear from a more mature male voice that it's rude not to take the phone after he has called and then,

"hi adam."

"hi di-wan," Adam says in return as I prompt him in his ear. Adam is beaming.

"hi adam."

"hi di-wan."

Then there is some more shuffling and muffled sound of the phone rubbling against something.

"bye Adam."

"bye bye Di-wan."

I ended speaking with the mom as she stated that Dylan wants to play with Adam. Adam is still beaming, cooing, and ready for the next call.

He dials Message Two where mother also answers curiously. I find out the child whose articulation I could not recognize is Noah who is getting read for bed but who really wants to play with Adam next week.

I am thrilled. I did not have to "arrange" a play-date. I just let it be and Adam has made his own friends which we hope to nurture and keep.

How can I not relish Adam's very first unprompted, unsolicited phone calls from his friends. It is a joyous evening.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant! How awesome is that? I wonder which camp you've sent Adam to. I know that's not necessarily the magic pill but still we are on the lookout for a good one for my son.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Niksmom said...

de-kurking to tell you that you will never know the depth to which this touches my heart tonight. adam (and you) continues to inspire so much faith and hope in my heart. than you for sharing this simple but profound news.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Phoebe Gleeson said...

oh lovely! thank you for telling us about it.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Steve D said...

Very cool, Estee. Thanks for sharing this.

11:21 PM  
OpenID readingwritingliving said...

That brought a lump to my throat. I am new here but this moved me very much.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

That's so great to hear. I've got to admit that I'm always kind of surprised that one of my daughters is so incredibly popular- I think that it's actually because she just rarely deigns to give people the benefit of her attention, so when she does, they're excited :-)

We had our first child-initiated playdate last year for one of my children, and I'll never forget how thrilled I was. I am so happy for you and for Adam.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Alli said...

that is just fantastic, wouldn't you love to bottle that feeling, i know i would. I hope Adam has fantastic play dates

7:23 AM  
Blogger Maddy said...

Whizzing ahead of the curve!

5:49 PM  
OpenID leechbabe said...

How fantastic. I'm smiling and cheering along here. Way to go Adam.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Phil Schwarz said...

This is so cool!
Yea Adam!

7:41 PM  
Blogger kristina said...

Shivers up the spine---too great!

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Melissa p. said...

As a mother of two autistic sons and one is non verbal, what a wonderful thing happened for your son. It is rare.
Enjoy it.

2:28 AM  
Blogger autismfamily said...

Great post. My two boys are on the spectrum, one is nonverbal and the HFA one is 13. He brought his 5th grade autograph book to get phone numbers from kids at the autism camp they attended for 6 weeks.

He has called a few kids. The hardest part is when there is voice mail and guiding him to leave a message.

Great job your son and you did with the calls.

10:48 PM  
OpenID dancingmom said...

Wow. That's all I can say. :-)

12:04 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Very cool!

6:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I loved reading this! How fun and exciting for Adam (and you!)!!

6:45 AM  
Blogger I am Jamie Sue! said...

Oh that is so great! I think I worry that my son will have difficulty making friends. Thanks for reminding me that kids are instinctively good at building friendships when they are little.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joyful heart for you and your son!! My five year old starts preschool next week; he is so looking forward to making friends. Linda

4:22 AM  
Blogger natalie said...

Thanks for sharing your story! Hooray for Adam!

10:18 AM  

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